Executive Education

The Case of Third World Countries and Higher Education

Smiling female student working on ther laptop

Education is an important aspect of an individual’s life. In addition to contributing to their personal growth, quality education also helps him/her to become valued members of their society. In third world countries education is not only a means of achieving a better living standard but also a tool for transforming the face of the nation. From the industrial revolution to technical advancements, everything is possible through education.

This is why developed nations invest so heavily in their academic institutions. But as we are about to learn in the lines below, such is not the case with the institutions in third world countries where many factors affect the student’s choice.

  1. Viewpoint on higher education
    A unique characteristic of third-world countries is that the students are well aware of the importance of higher education even without any interface program or formal guidance. After finishing their secondary education, most of these students go for courses that they want to make careers in as opposed to students from developed nations, amongst whom vocational studies are part of the norm. In third world countries education is viewed as a means to achieve stability and create a class of society that will be instrumental in alleviating the challenges and social evil that the country faces. The students of these countries grasp the importance of a good education. They know that getting into a good college can be a tool to transform their families and economic status.

  2. The emphasis on technical education
    Subjects like Sociology, Political Science, Anthropology, etc. are still viewed as subpar in third-world countries. The reason behind this is that they do not produce graduates who can excel in the job market. There are too many humanities graduates who, despite having necessary professional qualifications, fail to achieve gainful achievement. The ability to get a job after finishing higher education is still one of the leading determinants of what a student will choose to study. Subjects like engineering, medicine, computer science, etc. are the elites in academics here. They are more practical in their approach as opposed to theoretical humanities subjects. Hence they produce skilled graduates who can either work in an MNC or be self-employed with a good compensation package.

  3. Finance is a BIG factor
    In countries where medical care is a luxury, people think twice before investing in the higher education of their children. Pursuing academics has become costly, every year academic institutes ask for more money from students in form of tuition fees, hostel fees, transportation, mess, books, etc. As a result, the number of dropouts is rising. More and more and more students are being forced to give up their education in face of the rising cost of living and sustenance. Those that continue to pursue their interests often have to endure financial stress and the resultant mental anguish from having to exert beyond their means.

  4. Outside influence on third world countries’ universities
    Most of the universities in these third-world countries portray themselves as the flag bearers of change. They try to emulate the success formula of western universities. As a result, they end up promoting cultures, norms, and values that are counterproductive to the development of their nation. The western model of education, though successful, cannot be applied in third-world countries riddled with socio-economic problems. The faculties of these universities are laden with additional responsibilities as advisors to governmental agencies or to the government itself. Others might be tempted to work outside of their role as a teacher to pursue financial incentives. The curriculum taught in colleges is through the remainder of efforts left after the teachers are done with their above-mentioned responsibilities.

  5. The quality of students in higher education
    As opposed to the products of the western education system, students of third-world countries are ill-equipped to handle the freedom and challenges of higher education. When they enter colleges and universities, many are faced with an insurmountable task – being independent in their lives. Having poor communication and poor comprehension skills does not make it any easier. They spend most of their time trying to comprehend the alien western model of education and asking for notes on the subjects they cannot fully understand. By the time they mature and realize their way around the world, it is time for them to leave – underprepared again for the challenges that lie ahead.

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Ryan Miller
Ryan Miller is CEOWORLD magazine's executive editor of news, writing analysis, and long-form reporting. In his role, he coordinates and tracks the publication of special packages, magazine stories, and the publication’s signature lists. He's a somewhat long-suffering supporter of Manchester United F.C. and a genuinely long-suffering fan of the Los Angeles Clippers.